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Public Disorder — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:30 pm on 11th August 2011.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench 1:30 pm, 11th August 2011

My Lords, have the redeeming features of the terrible events been not only the dignified stoicism of men such as Tariq Jahan, but the way in which community organisations such as Toxteth Against the Riots have held together and stood on their own streets, defending their own territory? Thirty years ago, when I was a Member of the House of Commons representing an inner-city Liverpool constituency, that city was disfigured by riots. In the aftermath, the Government appointed Lord Scarman to investigate those events. I support what the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, said earlier. I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Browning, will not rule out the possibility-above and beyond the committee of inquiry to be established in another place-of someone of Lord Scarman's standing looking at the deep and complex issues involved here. In that context, will they particularly look at the crisis of values and virtues; at the flaccid language of rights, which has pushed to one side the idea of duties, obligations and responsibilities; and at the issue of absent fathers? Eight hundred thousand children in this country have no contact with their fathers. The Times, in an editorial today, says that some 900 children are excluded from school every day. As parents, we have to be on the side of teachers. We must re-establish discipline in our schools. If we do not, it will not be what we have seen this week that will come back to haunt us; it will be far worse events in the future.